Gain Mass

Rock Hard Diet Guidelines Month 1: Calorie Math

No nutritionist on hand? Dont' worry. Here are all the expert food rules you need to melt fat and build a strong, super lean body


Cut Carbs and Consume Slow-Digesting Types of Carbs Early in the Day

To increase protein and reduce calorie intake, something’s got to go. And in this case it’s carbs. Most days, you’ll consume only about 25– 30% of your calories from carbs. This means that a 200-pound guy will take in about 200 grams of carbs on workout days. Carbs fuel energy systems, but on the downside they also lead to body-fat storage (a really slow-moving energy system). During the Rock Hard Challenge, you want to train your body to tap into stored fat for fuel, and cutting carbs is the best strategy to accomplish this. During whole-food meals, you’ll rely almost exclusively on slow-digesting carbs (plus vegetables and one or two pieces of fruit). Quality sources of slow-digesting carbs include brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, buckwheat pancakes, and yams.

Your goal: Keep total carb intake to about one gram per pound of body weight each day—a 200-pounder will consume 200 grams, while a 170-pounder should take in only about 170 grams. On workout days, you’ll split these equally between slow-digesting carbs you consume earlier in the day and fast-digesting carbs (sugars) that you take in before and after workouts.

Note: Our meal plan includes the carbs from vegetables and fruit, but you don’t need to count these toward your daily carb totals. And you don’t want to cut out fruits and vegetables in the belief that this will help you shed body fat. The fiber found in these foods is actually beneficial in helping you reduce body-fat stores.

Consume Plenty of Protein From Whole Food and Supplemental Sources

When you’re expending more energy on weight training, you need to increase protein consumption to help stave off muscle catabolism (breakdown). This is especially true when you’re also cutting calories—you need to consume significantly more than M&F’s baseline of at least one gram of protein per pound of body weight each day. Both of the above factors (intense weight training and calorie cutting) encourage your body to pull amino acids from muscle tissue to support increased demands on your body, and you want to prevent that.

Your goal: During cutting phases where you’re also increasing training volume, you should strive to get in 1.5–2 grams of protein per pound of body weight each day (on both workout and rest days). This means a 200-pound guy should consume between 300 and 400 grams of protein a day.